Women and the LGPS Rule 85

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2006 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2006
Carried as Amended

This Local Government Service Group is appalled at the recent announcement by the Government to remove the Rule of 85 from the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), without proper consultation with the relevant stakeholders. The impact on many local government workers will be significant. In particular the impact on women will be enormous. This Service Group also condemns the action of the UK Government in removing the Rule of 85 from the LGPS in England and Wales without a fair replacement.

According to the UK Government’s own evidence, as published by the Department of Work and Pensions in November 2005 (Women and Pensions – the Evidence), today’s women pensioners are on average still experiencing lower retirement incomes than men. Life events – like childbirth, marriage, divorce and windowhood – often have particular significant pension implications for women and this is reflected in today’s pensions and the predicted income of women retiring in the future. More women than men work part-time and many of them may not be accruing State Pension Entitlement. The availability of occupational pension schemes is still limited for part time workers and many of these women having the opportunity to build up a pension through this route.

This effectively means that the long term implications for the benefit system in UK could be substantial.

Despite the UK Government trying to hide behind the Age Discrimination legislation by scrapping the rule of 85 the irony is that this legislation could come back to haunt them at a later stage if women are not given full and proper protection within the LGPS.

Therefore, this LG Service Group demands that, in the interests of equality and fairness, Government, rescinds its proposal in respect of the Rule of 85 and continues to work with appropriate stakeholders to develop an inclusive LGPS that benefits all staff.

This Local Government Service Group also demands that any future changes to the LGPS (England and Wales) are subject to full equality impact assessments and the Gender Duties applying in England, Wales and Scotland.